Katey Sagal and Paul Gordon Interview

The Gospel According To Heather

 

Transcription of interview

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Live from The Gospel According To Heather press event, where members of the media were given a sneak peak of this new Off-Broadway Musical, I interviewed television star Katey Sagal (Married with Children, Sons of Anarchy & The Connors), who plays Agatha & writer Paul Gordon (2001 Tony Nominated Composer for Jane Eyre).

 

In this interview, Katey & Paul pulled back the curtain to reveal:
  • What they related to most about the show
  • Their creative processes
  • Stage/Theatrical mishaps
  • One rule they each live by
 
Behind-The-Curtain:

I truly became a fan of Katey Sagal's in 1994 when she released her debut album Well... Up until that point, I only knew her for her acting on Married with Children. When the album dropped, I was very curious to hear her sing. So, I drove myself to Tower Records on Long Island & played the album at their listening station. I found her voice enchanting & sultry.

As the album got wider press coverage & Katey made her rounds on the talk-show circuit, I recall being pulled in even more by learning that the song she wrote "Can't Hurry The Harvest" was inspired by her own miscarriage. 

When I found out I was going to have the opportunity to interview Katey at The Gospel According To Heather press event, I brought the CD booklet for Well...& cassette single for "Can't Hurry The Harvest" with me, in hopes, she would autograph them both.

Katey & I seemed to have a good rapport during the interview, so afterwards, I asked her if she would sign the CD booklet & cassette single.

As Katey was looking through the CD booklet, she pointed out to me that the song "Dignity" was co-written by her & Paul Gordon (whom I just interviewed alongside her). I was so excited to discover that I did know his music prior to the interview. 

After Katey signed the CD booklet for Well..., I pulled out the cassette single for "Can't Hurry The Harvest." 

I wish I could have captured this moment on film. Katey couldn't believe that I had this in my possession. She immediately told me that she didn't even have a copy of her own & how she would love to find one.

In that moment, I should have just given it to her, but I really liked the unreleased song on side B called "Circles" & was hoping to transfer the song from cassette to digital. 

But, as the days went by, I kept thinking how Katey said she wished she had copy of the cassette single. I went back & forth for several days & finally decided that when I went to see the show, I would bring the cassette single with me & give it back to her.

UPDATE:

I went to see The Gospel According To Heather about two weeks ago.

It was a fantastic show, featuring a very talented cast of actors & singers.

The music was great. I have been signing many of the songs since seeing the show & am looking forward to the cast recording being released.

After the show, I was very lucky to see Katey while she was waiting for her car to arrive.

I reintroduced myself to her, but there was no need to, because she remembered me.

I reminded her that she signed the cassette single for "Can't Hurry The Harvest" & told her that I had been thinking a lot about her not having a copy of it. I told her I could tell how much it would mean to her to have her own copy & I should have given it to her at the interview, but I didn't. I then handed her the signed cassette single.

She was so touched by this. I could see it in her face. She then asked me if I saw the show yet & I told her I had just come from seeing the show & how good it was.

I also told her that I now understand why she didn't/couldn't reveal too much about her character during the interview.

It was another beautiful moment with Katey Sagal that I will remember forever!

In The Gospel According To Heather, Heather Krebs just wants a boyfriend. But how can she even navigate her way through high school if she might be the New Messiah?  A small town in Ohio grapples with politics, religion and teenage romance in this eclectic pop musical.

The Gospel According To Heather plays at Theater 555 in NYC. Click here for tickets!

Connect with The Gospel According to Heather: Facebook and Instagram

More on Katey Sagal:

TV: The Connors, RebelSons of Anarchy (Golden Globe Award), Superior Donuts, 8 Simple RulesFuturama and Married with Children.

FILM: Bleed For ThisPitch Perfect 2 and The Good Mother.

Music: CDs Well..., Room, Covered and performs with her band The Reluctant Apostles.

Books: Her first book, Grace Notes: My Recollections, was published in 2017 by Simon and Schuster.

Connect with Katey: Facebook and Instagram

Headshot of Paul Gordon. Paul is wearing a navy blue jacket over a teal shirt. He is also wearing Royal Blue glasses

Photo Credit: Charles Chessler

More on Paul Gordon:

2001 Tony Award nominated composer for his musical Jane Eyre. Other works include Sense and Sensibility (winner of the 2015 Jeff Award for Best New Work), Daddy Long Legs (2009 Ovation Award, 2 Drama Desk Award nominations, Off-Broadway Alliance Award nomination and 3 Outer Critic Circle award nominations). He is the co-founder of StreamingMusicals.com, where his musicals Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Estella Scrooge, Being Earnest and No One Called Ahead can currently be streamed. Knight’s Tale, written with John Caird, has had multiple productions in Japan. His other shows include: Stellar Atmospheres, Little Dorrit, Schwab’s, Analog and Vinyl, The Front, Juliet and Romeo, Sleepy Hollow, First Night, The Circle, Ribbit, Greetings From Venice Beach and The Sportswriter.  In his former life, Paul was a pop songwriter, writing several number one hits.

Connect with Paul: Instagram

Transcription of Interview

Bobby Cronin: Hey everybody, it's Adam, Adam, live and in person for you. Hey everybody, it's Adam. Wonder who he'll interview?

Adam Rothenberg: I am so excited to be at The Gospel According To Heather Press event, and all is well today because I get to talk to Katey Sagal and writer Paul Gordon for The Gospel According To Heather.

You're making your off Broadway musical debut in this show, The Gospel According To Heather. So how do you appreciate now that you are making your Off Broadway debut as opposed to say when you were in your 20s or 30s?

Katey Sagal: At this time of my life, I, I guess it's because I never say no lately.

Paul Gordon: And I begged. So that was part of it.

Katey Sagal: It wasn't a difficult choice to make.

Adam Rothenberg: And Paul, what made you write the show?

Paul Gordon: I'm constantly thinking of ideas, story ideas, but this was actually a screenplay that I wrote in the early 2000s and it went the way of most of my screenplays went in that era, which is nobody paid any attention.

So at about a year and a half ago, I was just musing on what the next show I was gonna write, and I had remembered the screenplay and I got it out and I read it and I went, this is kind of cool and it really struck me that it was so much more pertinent for now than it was for when I originally wrote it.

So that's what triggered the idea.

Adam Rothenberg: And what do you relate to most about Agatha?

Katey Sagal: There's a lot about Agatha I don't really want to talk about, you'll have to come see the show. But, she's wise, she is, matriarchal I would say. She's pretty funny.

What else do we know about Agatha that's that's fair to?

Paul Gordon: Well, I think, I think we can say that she's part of, she's an important part of Heather's life and she's somebody that Heather goes to, to, to confide in.

Adam Rothenberg: How do you mentally and physically prepare for the show, or how do you think you will mentally and physically prepare for the show?

Katey Sagal: Well, it's interesting, you know, I didn't sing a lot during the pandemic and I usually sing a lot. I have a band at home, I, I, I play around. And so when Paul called, I realized, oh, I better get it together because as you will hear, this is an amazing bunch of incredibly talented people, so, I have been preparing, I've been going to my vocal lessons and trying to sing every single day so that I can do the material justice. It's really amazing material.

Adam Rothenberg: And Paul, can you talk a little bit about what your creative process is like? You know, do you have a specific place that you like to write? What time of day that you write? What is your writing process like?

Paul Gordon: I'm sort of a 9 to 5er, or more accurately, 10 to 6. I really just discipline myself to write every day. I read an article years ago that Paul Simon said, "I just get up every morning whether I have an idea or not. And I, I work from 9 to 5." And that kind of inspired me cuz he's sort of a hero of mine. And I also love to write, so it's really a joy and I feel incredibly lucky that I get to wake up every morning to do this. And so whether I'm writing lyrics or music or book scenes, it feels all sort of the same thing to me.

Adam Rothenberg: And Katey, when you're performing in a show, whether, whether it's a theatrical show or on TV, how do you guard your time and energy so you don't get worn out?

Katey Sagal: It's been easier as my children get older. You know, when I was working and my kids were little, I, I don't know that I did guard my time and energy. You know, you just show up and do it anyway. So it's been easier, lately. I sleep, I try to sleep a lot. And, as much as I say yes to most things, I've also learned how to say no to things that are, not necessary.

Adam Rothenberg: Mm-hmm. That's a great lesson. And Paul, how, same question for you. How do you guard your time and energy when you're writing so you don't get worn out or, or if you get writer's block, how do you get past that?

Paul Gordon: I watch TV basically, which is the main theme of the, the show. Um, no, I mean actually, after writing all day, my wife and I hang out. We like talk about our day. We have something we call our fireside even though we don't have a fireplace, but we imagine that we do and we talk about our day and then we, watch some of our shows for relaxation.

Katey Sagal: That is such good marital advice.

Paul Gordon: Thanks Katey.

Katey Sagal: I must say [Katey Laughs]. I'm gonna go home and suggest a fireside chat.

Adam Rothenberg: And what is the best advice you've received, but not taken?

Katey Sagal: You mean in general? In my entire life?

Adam Rothenberg: Generally, yes.

Katey Sagal: Well, I can tell you the best advice I did take. Is that better? Can I do that?

Adam Rothenberg: You can, you can do that.

Katey Sagal: Bette Midler told me years ago when I worked with her, "Save your money" [Paul, Katey and I laugh] and I'll never forget her telling me that. And that's what I've done.

Adam Rothenberg: I love it. I love it. And Paul?

Paul Gordon: I'm gonna go with the best advice I ever got from both Alanis Morissette and Stephen Schwartz both said the same thing to me, "Don't read your reviews."

Katey Sagal: That's a very good one too.

Adam Rothenberg: And now for you, Katey, I know you've, you've gone through a lot of hardships in life. How do you continue to keep going and how do you bounce back from tough times?

Katey Sagal: Ooh, that's a good question. Well, first of all, we all go through hardships in life. After all it's life. I would say, I have a good community that, I don't try to do things alone. I also have, an enormous amount of faith. So I sort of have this overall belief that whatever's going on is supposed to be going on, even though I may not understand why. And when I can sort of surrender to that fact, it just makes life easier. Also, I'm just gonna say this, I don't avoid pain if, if, if it's painful, it's painful. Rather than try to run from it, I think the fastest way out is through. So I just try to keep my eyes open. How's that?

Paul Gordon: Wow. I love that.

Katey Sagal: You should write it in the script [Adam Laughs].

Paul Gordon: Can can that be my answer as well?

Adam Rothenberg: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

Paul Gordon: I can't say it better than that.

Adam Rothenberg: And, and would you say it's a Simple Act Of Faith?

Katey Sagal: A Simple Act Of Faith? Oh, like my song.

Adam Rothenberg: Yes.

Katey Sagal: Would I say it's A Simple Act Of Faith? I, I think faith is a decision. I think faith is believing in things that you cannot see, and I think that that's a decision.

Adam Rothenberg: And, what would you say is your biggest mishap, either on stage or on set, that you still laugh about today?

Katey Sagal: Once again, I'm gonna go back to when I was a Harlette.

Adam Rothenberg: Mm-hmm.

Katey Sagal: Which is like years and years and years and years ago. But I had to wear a mermaid fin and, and roll around the stage in an electric wheelchair. And, I never actually fell off the stage. But I did have some problems with the breaking system sometimes and, my fin was a bit hard to maneuver in, but, Bette was an expert at it, so I just followed her lead.

So not quite a mishap, but almost.

Adam Rothenberg: I I love it.

Paul Gordon: And the wheelchair, of course, prepared you for this role eventually.

Katey Sagal: Absolutely, yes.

Paul Gordon: It all, it all works out.

Katey Sagal: Right.

Paul Gordon: Everything comes around.

Adam Rothenberg: And Paul, what would you say? Do, do you have a writing mishap?

Paul Gordon: It's not a writing mishap, but what that makes me think of is when we did Jane Eyre, at La Jolla Playhouse, I think we only played there for a month and I want to say that the fire alarm went off during the show about 15 times and it was sort of horrifying to find yourself in the parking lot with the audience in the middle of the show going, "Hey, how you doing?" "Hey, good show so far." And then like 20 minutes later you go back in and try enjoy the rest of the show. Yeah.

Katey Sagal: Oh my god!

Paul Gordon: That was, that was really fun.

Katey Sagal: Amazing.

Adam Rothenberg: That is an amazing, amazing story. I do have one final question. So what would you say is The Gospel According To Katey? Like what is one rule you live by?

Katey Sagal: One day at a time.

Adam Rothenberg: I love it. And what would you say is The Gospel According To Paul?

Paul Gordon: Watch more TV.

Adam Rothenberg: [Adam Laughs] I love it. I love it. Well, thank you both for your time today. Everybody listening come see The Gospel According To Heather at Theater 555.

Bobby Cronin: He'll get the dirt and the scoop and the story for he happens to be in the know, just ask anybody whose had him, Adam, lives for the business of show. Call Me Adam dot com

Special Thanks:

  • Richard Hillman PR
  • Theme Song by Bobby Cronin
  • Podcast Logo by Liam O'Donnell
  • Edited by Adam Rothenberg
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